How to Create YouTube Thumbnails With PowerPoint

PowerPoint Tutorials

In this video, you will find how to create custom YouTube Thumbnail for your videos with PowerPoint. You can create attractive thumbnails at the click of the button with this PowerPoint Tutorial.

Click Play to watch the tutorial video below:

About this PowerPoint tutorial:

In this article, you will learn how to create attractive YouTube thumbnails using PowerPoint. The first thumbnail you will learn to create is this:

This is the second thumbnail we will create in PowerPoint:

As you can see this is a little more subtle and has the effect of a banner in front of the person.

The third colorful video cover we will create is this:

This is almost like a poster or a banner on the wall.

The 3 thumbnails that I showed you were created using Design Theme in PowerPoint. They are very easy to put together.

I will also show you how to use a few simple shapes to create your own thumbnail from scratch.

The custom YouTube thumbnail we will create first looks like this:

Once you learn how to create this basic design you can also come up with your own color variations and customize your video thumbnails like this:

Does it sound exciting? Let us jump right in and learn how to create these beautiful thumbnails.

Create the Base Layout for the Thumbnail

The first thing I am going to do is to insert a new slide so let me go to the Home tab hit on the New Slide option and on the slide I am goingto right-click go to Layout and I’m going to choose Title Only Layout.

I’m going to write “YouTube thumbnail tutorial” in the text area. Now we have got our title ready.

The next thing I’m going to do is to insert my picture.This is all we require for now.

We will use this same base slide for all the different Thumbnail options in this tutorial.

About PowerPoint Version used:

The version of PowerPoint that I’m using is PowerPoint office 365. It is a subscription option. You can find the PowerPoint Designer feature in PowerPoint 365, or PowerPoint 2019.

If you have any other version of PowerPoint, please just down to the section on creating your thumbnail from scratch.

Design Option 1: Celestial

The first thing I am going to do is to go to the Design Tab of PowerPoint Ribbon, and choose one of the Design Themes called Celestial.

Then I’m going to go to the Design tab, go to Design Ideas. This will give me some ideas on different variations of the thumbnail.

I select the design option that I really like and enlarge the image by holding the Shift button down.

Now if I go to the Slideshow mode you can see that I have an attractive looking YouTube thumbnail ready almost in an instant.

Did you like this design? Great!

Design Option 2: Gallery

Let us go to the next design. We will use the same base slide with the video title and my picture.

Let me try a different kind of a design this time. Let me go to the Design Tab and let me choose one of the design themes called ‘Gallery’.

Let us try and give it a different colored background. For this, let us go to Design Theme Options and choose one of the variants.

Finally, let us go to Design Ideas and see what kind of options PowerPoint gives us. There are some very interesting ones available. Let me select something very subtle.

I’m going to enlarge my photo so that it goes all the way from the bottom to the top and here I have my title and this design looks really attractive.

Design Option 3: Main Event

While the above thumbnail looks quite attractive let us try and change the theme and see what kind of variations we can come up with when we have a different design theme applied.

So let us choose a different Design Theme called ‘Main event’ that looks really neat and I can go to Design Ideas and here I have very attractive alternatives. I select one of the variations here.

I’m going to hold the Shift button down as I enlarge my photo and place it appropriately. That’s beautiful.

Now this looks larger than life and this is another type of thumbnail that we can create.

So as you can see when you have the combination of a beautiful design theme and if you ask PowerPoint to give you various design ideas you can come up with an endless variety of attractive looking YouTube thumbnails in a matter of seconds using PowerPoint office 365.

Customizing Thumbnail from scratch

Now what if you don’t have PowerPoint office 365 and you have the regular PowerPoint version? Can you still create an attractive thumbnail?Of course you can! And let me show you how it is done.

We will start with the same base title slide with text and photo.

The first thing I’m going to do is to enlarge this photo. I’m going to cut off all the unnecessary portions by going to Format > Crop tool.

Then I’m going to go to the option called Fit Slide to Current Window. Now we’ve got one bit taken care of.

Step 1: Add Shape

Next I’m going to add a shape to make this a little more interesting. So let us go to Auto Shapes Gallery from Basic Shapes and add a parallelogram to the slide.

And I’m going to make sure that the left edge of the slide corresponds with the bottom left corner of the parallelogram and I’m going to Right-Click and use the ‘Send to Back’ option to place the parallelogram behind the picture.

Step 2: Style and add color to the shapes

I’m going to give the shape an attractive color. If I go to the options in the Format Tab called as Shape Styles, I can pick up one of the colors. Maybe the orange color variation like this looks really interesting.

Now that I’ve got my color in place next I’m going to add some visual interest to the title.

Step 3: Customize the Title Fonts

So I’m going to use two types of fonts to make this title look interesting. The first one is Oswald. This is one of the free fonts that I downloaded from the net.

I’m going to really increase the font size and then I’m going to select the text right after YouTube and I’m going to hit Enter so that it moves to the next line and I’m going to choose a different font for this text.

So let us use the font called BEBAS. Bebas is one of my favorite fonts and this again is something that I downloaded online.

I can increase the font size so that it pretty much fits right under the YouTube text.

Step 4: Add Subtitle

The next thing I am going to do is to add a Subtitle here. So let us go to Auto Shapes gallery I’m going to pick up a Rectangle Box tool.

I’m going to send this backwards so I’m going to right click go to ‘Send to Back’ option and go to ‘Send Backward’.

Then I go to Shape Outline and set to No Outline. Go to shape fill and either pick the color that is already there in the photo or a black color. It is completely up to you.

Then I’m going to write some text. So let us go to Auto Shapes gallery pick up the basic text box tool from Basic Shapes.

I’m going to write the words ‘With PowerPoint’ and I’m going to enlarge the font size and I’m going to use a different kind of a handwritten font.

The one that I really like is Pacifico and this again is something that I downloaded from the net.

I’m going to give this text a white color. If I want I can even have the outline for the text in a different color. So let me go to Format go to Text Outline and give it the same orange color that I have for the background.

When I go to the SlideShow mode you can see that the Thumbnail looks really attractive.

Change the look quickly with different colors:

You can even play with different colors. For example, for the parallelogram,  I can go to Shape Fill and use the Eyedropper tool to pick the color of the shirt in the photo.

For the other elements I can select a brighter color and change the font color to Black. You can see that instantly we have a very different looking thumbnail.

Now all that is required for us to do is to save this slide as a PNG image and that image would be perfectly ready for us to use as YouTube’s custom thumbnail.

Now you might think that the slide size of PowerPoint might be different from the recommended resolution of YouTube. Let me clear that doubt from your mind. Let me go to YouTube Help and see what is the recommended size.

The recommended size is 1280 by 720 pixels for your YouTube Custom Thumbnail.

It has to have a 16 is to 9 aspect ratio.

Now if I go to my PowerPoint slide, the default aspect ratio is 16 is to 9 and let us see if the slide size is 1280 by 720. if I go to slide size option go to custom slidesize I can see that there is a certain width and height that is used by PowerPoint. The width that is used is 33.867 centimeters. Now is 33.867 centimeters the same as 1280 pixels?

Let us go to this handy site called and if we input 1280 as pixels, it automatically calculates the corresponding value in centimeters and it is 33.866 which is the size that you would need.

The same way if I were to say 720 pixels and see what is the corresponding centimeters here it is 19.05 and when I go to PowerPoint it is 19.05 cms.

As you can see, the default slide size of PowerPoint is exactly right for YouTube custom thumbnail.

Step 5: Save file as Image

Now to save the thumbnail we have created as a picture all I need to do is to go to File and choose the location that I want to save it.  So let me go to Save As..and let us choose Desktop here and I’m going to choose the file type not a PowerPoint presentation but as PNG image because that is one of the recommended file types.

So I’m going to choose PNG or Portable Network Graphics format.

Then all I need to do is to give it a name and then Save just this one slide.

Your YouTube Thumbnail is ready for use!

To conclude:

As you can see using the powerful combination of Design Theme and Design Ideas you can come up with some very interesting thumbnails in just a few seconds. Even if you want to create your thumbnails from scratch all it requires for you to do is to have your picture & your title.

Then you can play around with the font combination and you can insert some basic shapes from your Auto shapes gallery and you can make the design look attractive.

Since the default slide size is exactly appropriate for YouTube custom thumbnail creating thumbnails using PowerPoint is a very easy and handy option.

Did you like this tutorial if Yes, please hit the Like button and also Share the tutorial with your friends so that more people are aware of the techniques that I taught you today.